GE Makes a Massive Turbine Blade, the World’s First Liquid Hydrogen Cargo Ship, and Hybrid Power for Airplanes


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Thermal power generation is all about converting heat into rotational motion, and for grid scale generation that means steam turbines. Scaling factors matter in turbine efficiency, and General Electric has delivered a new record in single blade low pressure turbine technology with a 75-inch blade. It will be used in very large steam turbines to be installed in the British Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant.

Liquid hydrogen is notoriously difficult to store and transport, both due to the extremely cold temperatures required, and the propensity of the tiny hydrogen molecule to diffuse through most barrier materials. Kawasaki Heavy Industries has commissioned the world's first bulk LH2 carrier, which will be used in a new green supply chain initiative to deliver coal derived hydrogen from Australia to Kobe Japan. Could this be the start of a new renaissance for coal, with a green twist?

Battery electric aircraft are hobbled by very poor range performance with current battery technology. Could hybrid power plants bridge the gap between turboprops and pure electrics? Honeywell has developed a lightweight turbogenerator system that may give small regional airliners and vertical takeoff air taxis the range and reserve requirements needed to make electric flight a practical proposition.

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